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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Food Allergies suck

Fish, nuts, and seeds gone. Never are you to eat, touch, or smell them. If you do possible death. Worrying about cross contamination is awful. Did the clam chowder have fish bones? Did the pad Thai have fish sauce? Are there pistachios in the terrine? These are the questions I must ask every time I go out to eat. Allergies irk the restaurant and the diner that has them. I know from experience working in restaurants that when customers say they have allergies the kitchen staff gets very annoyed because most people do not really have the allergy. I do actually have the allergies and I feel bad when I have to tell the restaurant about my allergies. If I eat something I am allergic to I would go into anaphylactic shock. My throat would close and I would have to stab myself with an epipen and get rushed to the nearest hospital.
I would do anything to get rid of my allergies. I am absolutely obsessed with food yet I have never tasted a morsel of sushi, tuna, salmon, Dover sole, bass, etc. The list goes on an on. I always ask people what these foods taste like. They try to explain, but it is not even close to actually tasting the food.
A drug came out recently that enabled lactose intolerant people to eat dairy products. If a drug came out that enabled me to eat fish, nuts, and seeds I would be ecstatic. I would go to Masa, Sushi Yasuda, Le bernadin, L20, Esca, Marea, etc. and have the best seafood possible.
I do not know if it is possible for me to work professionally in a kitchen with these allergies. Pretty much every station works with these ingredients in some way. I would not be able to saute a piece of fish, or work with nuts or seeds. I guess I would be able to work the meat station, but then how would I evolve as a cook? To become a chef you must work every station and master every station so when you become the leader of the kitchen you instruct every one what to do. If I was to be an executive chef I would not be able to taste the fish dishes, so I would not know if they were up to my standards. Maybe it would be possible to have a restaurant that had nothing I was allergic to. Would it be possible to have a restaurant without seeds and nuts? Yes. Without fish? Probably not.
What do you (the readers) think of my situation?


  1. Teddy, there's a lot you can do with your interest in food besides being a restaurant chef. To state the obvious, this blog of yours is proof you'd excel at _writing_ about food.

    I feel bad for you that you can't eat fish and seafood. I'm allergic to shrimp in just the manner you describe. My mouth and throat got so swollen the last time I had it, I thought I was going to die. But it was such an immediate reaction, I only ate one shrimp and then a bite of another. So I just plain don't eat it.

    I've had other allergies in my lifetime, esp. hay fever, but that just failed to show up one year, and it's been no problema ever since.

  2. Thanks... I would love to write about food for a career.

  3. I poured through your blog and am so impressed with your passion, your interest and willingness to learn from the great chefs, and your ambitious approach to getting some prep experience in a fine dining restaurant. The food allergy is a bit depressing to learn about. I wonder though if this is a blessing you should embrace. The restrictions you are forced to deal with may allow you to aggressively concentrate and maximize the ingredients you're able to work with! Don't let this set you back. You have every right to be a great chef regardless of the allergy situation, and no one who loves food would want a young man like yourself to throw out the baby to spite the bath water. Or something like that.

    Best of Luck to you!


  4. I really appreciate those kind words Alan.